Kiara's story

First published on 9th May, 2017 by Vanessa Risku

Our children come from all walks of life. They are somebody's brother, sister, son or daughter. They all have vastly different lives but they all share one thing in common. They are KidzWish Kidz. In this article, Kiara’s mother Vanessa shares their family story.

A sip of water, a slice of watermelon or even sucking on an ice block could be life-threatening for Kiara. My daughter has Down syndrome and suffers from severe aspiration which means any liquid could be lethal.

As well as restricting what she can eat and drink, the unusual condition means Kiara cannot take showers, enjoy a splash at the swimming pool and has to take care when going out in the rain.

Kiara understands she can't have liquid but she doesn't understand it can kill her. Despite the challenges Kiara faces, she remains a bubbly and happy little girl. Born premature at 32 weeks, she had to undergo stomach and bowel surgery, meningitis and open-heart surgery in her first two months of life.

She's had pneumonia 60 times, 15 collapsed lungs, numerous hospitalisations and 30 operations. She also has hydrocephalus (fluid on the brain) and a routine scan a couple of years ago uncovered a rare brain tumour and we were told she would not last till Christmas. However, after this surgery to remove the tumour Kiara continues to prove doctors wrong.

If people had seen Kiara within her first few years they would of said that Kiara would never get this far. We were told that Kiara would never walk or talk because of her hydrocephalus and to see Kiara participate in KidzWish programs like the music and dance program fills me with so much pride.

There is nothing better than seeing Kiara achieve her dreams. KidzWish has brightened our life. Programs run from KidzWish Place give us something to look forward to and a break from the constant routine of operations, doctor’s visits and appointments.

KidzWish Place is a safe, happy environment and it has given Kiara the opportunity to grow and be herself in a place where “disabilities” are not seen but rather “abilities”. 

We’re so grateful to have the support from KidzWish.

— Vanessa Risku

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